I’ve done many a caravan holiday during my childhood. My grandparents used to own their own static caravan up on the cliffs at the picturesque Capel-La-Ferne. Situated right next to a maze of what i refered to as sand dunes along the cliffs edge (now the Battle of Britain Memorial).
I’ve always wanted to take my children away to enjoy the same sort of excitement of sleeping in a caravan right by the sea can bring. So we decided to book a week away with a Haven right by the sea in Somerset. I’d been concerned about booking staying in a major holiday park previously. Would it met Chase’s additional needs, and just how clean and comfortable would the accommodation be?!
When Did We Visit
I decided to take Chase out of school for 4 days and we visited the week after the school Easter holidays. It’s difficult to get the most out of a holiday (or any day out) when it’s super busy and Chase always ends up missing out the most due to his additional needs. We arrived on Monday the 17th to find the park lovely and quiet.
The Haven site is gated and we were greeted by an extremely friendly security guard who was wearing a hat completely covered in stuffed animals! I wish I had managed to get a picture, the kids though it was hilarious. Even during the hotter days of our stay he was still wearing his adornment of fluffy friends.
The check in desk was quick and efficient and I received a welcome pack containing a map, our entertainment passes, a guide to activities as well as our caravan keys. We found out we had been upgraded to a prestige caravan at no extra cost – brilliant!
I had originally booked for a newer version of Haven’s Deluxe Adapted Caravans. It was important that we had a caravan with central heating and double glazing as at the time of booking I had no idea what the weather would be doing. The prestige caravan we had been upgraded to was lovely. It was so clean and obviously one of the newer models. The ramp up to the caravan was on a gentle slope and all of the internal sliding doors meant it was so easy to get chase around in his wheelchair.
We also had our own parking bay right next to the caravan which made it really easy for loading Chase in and out of the car.
The vast majority of the caravan had vinyl flooring except for the bedrooms which had carpet. This meant I was still able to get Chase out of his wheelchair to crawl and roll about on for some physio. The Living space was really well laid out with a handy kitchen area and dining table. There were so many mod cons that I wasn’t expecting such as a gorgeous electric heater (in addition to the central heating), a huge TV, and a LOADS of sofa space.
There was plenty of cupboards and spaces in the caravan for storing clothes, numerous teddys, buckets & spades and toys. Not that any of my children managed to keep their toys tidied away for long.
The kitchen had pretty much everything we needed in it. A kettle, toaster, gas oven and hob, a combi grill and microwave as well as a dishwasher. As we had an adapted caravan the surfaces were lowered so that someone staying in a wheelchair would be able to prepare meals and wash up. I did consider asking Chase if he wanted to try the washing up but I reconsidered after deciding I didn’t want to have all the crockery smashed on the floor.
A slight downside to a lowered side was that our 2 year old Harper could reach the gas cooker controls. We did carefully explain to Harper at the beginning of the holiday that they were dangerous. She was a complete superstar and left them well alone during our stay.
The lowered sides however did make it a bit of a killer on your back if you were not in a wheelchair. This was quickly and easily fixed by moving the dining chair over.
We took a Tots Seat with us for Harper to sit in when eating. This worked amazingly well and she loved the bright colours on it. The dining table was easy to move so we could easily fit all 5 of us including wheelchair at the table.
Chase had the main bedroom all to himself and it was huge. It also came with a small wall mounted TV and a hair dryer. We took HippyChick Dream tubes with us to act as the bed guards for all of the children. This clever invention can simply be blown up with air and then popped into a special sheet for an instant portable bed guard. Myself and Dan slept on the pull out bed in the living room. I have to stay the mattress on the pull out bed was probably the least supportive mattress I think I have ever slept on. To be fair though I wasn’t expecting a huge amount from a pull out bed and it was manageable for a short stay. The kids all slept really well in their bedrooms.
You can see from the photos how bright the rooms were even with the curtains closed. If you have children who will wake up at the crack of dawn due to light I would consider taking a black out blind with you.
The wet room was so much bigger than I ever remember a bathroom being on a caravan. We had a little fold down seat they we could sit Chase on whilst he had a shower. The only difficulty we had with the bathroom was the raised toilet seat. Fortunately it could be lifted to make it easier for the kids to get on and off the toilet. The water temperature was lovely and warm and instant delivered to the carvan- much better than our own house!
I was so impressed with the caravan accommodation. I had previous reservations about how small and difficult it might be to fit the wheelchair in. I’d also read horror stories of unclean caravans with mould problems but all of my preconceived ideas were completely wrong!
I’ll be writing up an additional review all about the facilities and services at the Doniford Bay Haven park but here’s a little spoiler for you – it was the same as our caravan, fantastic!